The Perfect Lens
I have the honor of being an Aunt to three beautiful nieces. One of them, Alyssa (alyssabreann), takes gorgeous photos. She shoots them in the perfect light, at the right angle and captures each special moment. She has photo editing software, but with her natural talent I doubt she uses it too much. Alyssa is famous for her slight clumsiness, sheer innocence, and unwavering faith; at 22 years old I look up to her in many ways. She’s that woman that you know will marry a Pastor someday. I have witnessed the trials she has been through and watched her faith strengthen each time. God moves mountains for Alyssa, from parking spots to a new car, he has demonstrated his faithfulness in every trial.
I Couldn't Stand
I recently met a woman who was going through a trial that I had also experienced. She asked me how I have stood firmly in my faith as we discussed trials I had faced over the years. The big secret that I shared with her was that I barely held on. I felt like I was consistently downing and for a majority of the time I couldn’t breathe. I was on my knees, not because I put on my perfect Christian persona, I was physically unable to stand. The only thing that kept me going was the promise that it really would work out for the best. Remembering that my “best” wasn’t necessarily God’s “best” was a bit of a struggle. The Lord and I had some serious heart-to-heart talks on his misunderstanding of what was best for me; he won.
Perspective – Consider it What?
The book of James encourages us to embrace trials we face. “Consider it pure joy…whenever you face trials of many kinds” (v.2:2). Notice it doesn’t say if you face trials, we can expect them in life. His instruction does not mean that we are to walk around smiling, wearing waterproof mascara (just in case) and pretending that nothing is wrong. God isn’t asking for us to hide our emotions but instead encouraging us to discover what we can learn from the situation as we walk through it. The testing of our faith is not a surprise, but how we approach it is up to us. Trials, why it may not feel like it in the midst of one, are for us, not against us and provides an opportunity to mature. When someone is immature and is not willing to be patient nor persevere to the end of the trial, they miss out on the reward. God doesn't want us to miss out on anything he has for us.
Patience, Perseverance & Lacking Nothing
Trials bring different emotions to the surface, including the all too familiar question, “why me Lord?”. The Bible says that through our faith, trials produce “…patience; patience, character; and character, hope” (Romans 5:3-4). The Greek word for patience in this passage is hupomone, a verb that means "to remain behind, stand one's ground, steadfast, persevere and wait". It’s not a passive word as we would generally use it in our language today. “Let perseverance finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, lacking nothing” (James 1:4). The Greek word for mature is teleios; it means “brought to its end, finished and perfect”. Holoklēros, the Greek word for complete means “perfect, complete in every part and whole.” When unexpected trials happen, It’s easier for me to gain a new perspective when I remember the true meaning of the scriptures. James is essentially saying; trials are going to happen, it’s part of life. However, if you walk in faith, you will be steadfast, persevere, perfect and whole in the end.
Choosing a New Lens